A 29-year old mother of 11 children, Helen Odor is praying for the end of God’s blessings of children in her life. Helen had four children before she recently delivered quintuplets.
“I pray not to have children again in my life; and I’m serious about it. If childbearing is a blessing, I pray to God to give it to those who need it and not to me. What I’m praying for now is strength; I want strength, I want life. I want God to provide for my family so that we can take care of the children. God forbid that I will give birth to a child again,” she tells Punch.
Helen’s five pregnancies gave her 11 children but she lost two out of the triplets she had from the previous pregnancy, leaving her with nine children in all.
“I think it runs in our blood. In my husband’s family, they have twins, triplets and quadruplets; in my family, we have the same history. I think these things run in our genes. For my fourth pregnancy, I had triplets, but unfortunately, I lost two of them. I have produced 11 children from five pregnancies by the grace of God; but like I had earlier said; I have nine alive now because I lost two children.”
Helen, who is an apprentice tailor, is married to a commercial tricycle rider and they live in a one-bedroom apartment. With the present state of the country’s economy, the family’s income is way more than its expenditure. According to her, they have been spending about N4, 000 daily on formula to feed her quintuplets.
“…. I need more help; nursing quintuplets is not easy. I can’t do exclusive breastfeeding in this kind of situation. We buy an average of three tins of formula daily at N1, 300 each. And everybody knows how tough the economy is in our country. So, we need more assistance. My husband is a commercial tricycle rider and I am an apprentice tailor. I was learning that before I was delivered of the quintuplets. I have not established my tailoring shop. We live in a one-bedroom apartment; 11 of us and sometimes we have visitors. We need a bigger place but it will cost money,” she said.
Taking care of the new babies is another challenge for her as she doesn’t have the time to sleep properly. The domestic work is affecting her health but her mother, who is alive, could only stay with her for two weeks and husband’s sister, who is with them will leave in few days time because, “if we don’t rotate it this way, you will be surprised that we will be consuming an average of 20 cups of rice per meal,” she said.
Name: Odoh Helen Ndidi
Account number: 0048081828
Bank: Union Bank Nigeria Plc